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Path to citizenship as someone transitioning from the tech industry to freelancing

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Hello.

There are a few things on my mind with regards to US immigration and attaining citizenship.
I think it'll be helpful to structure this according to where I am now and what I'm hoping to achieve or where I'd like to be.

So I'll start with the latter.

I'd like to be a freelance artist legally in the US. I'm also open to working for a company, but freelancing is my preference.

Where I am now is somewhat far from that, but hopefully not impossibly far.

I'm about to finish my degree in Computer Science. My F-1 visa expires in December, so I'm thinking of applying for full-time jobs in the same field to be sponsored by a company mostly for the purposes of remaining in the US. I'm doing a software engineering internship that'll I'll be done with in a week, and have determined that it's something that I can do to pay the bills and help myself become more developed in some ways as a person. But I must be honest with myself and realize that it is not, by any means, something I'm passionate about and I foresee that being the case for as long as I remain in the industry. I can deal with it if I must, but it's kind of draining and would rather just get started on what matters more to me.

I'm 100% about following my passions, and sometimes that requires sacrifice. I may have to sacrifice a path to citizenship if it means that I want to work 100% on my art, OR I may have to forego the next couple of years of dedicating myself fully to art to earn money for grad school (in art, of course) or to move to a new city, or something. The point being that there are different ways to be congruent with my values and actions. But what I prefer is to be an artist while still being on the path to becoming a US citizen.

So, then: how can I, being a soon-to-be CS graduate, with a good chance of remaining the software development field, still push towards citizenship? Is there any chance of that happening if I quit my job as a programmer and work as some kind of artist for either myself or a company?

Also, is there a visa out there that will enable me to work in any other field? My impression with a company-sponsored H1-B is that I'd only be able to work in the programming field, and it may be better for me to work at a museum, or as an art teacher of some kind. But who knows if that can be done legally.

Sorry if this seems all over the place -- I suppose this is the beginning of asking myself these questions. Quite a bit to read/learn.

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why not seek the next step, instead, and obtain OPT status?


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Generally speaking for H1b assuming you are lucky in the lottery than your job has to match your qualification.

You would want to get an agreement from any future employer that they would sponsor you for a Green Card.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Why not apply to go to art school now (or for after you graduate)? There's plenty of good art schools in the USA and you could restart with a new undergraduate degree.

Otherwise, if you want to go down the working route with your current area of expertise, talk to potential employers about their stance on GC sponsorship when and if they offer you a job. There's some information online: http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-through-job/green-card-through-job-offer

I have a bunch of friends in tech who work for companies doing such sponsorship (basically, think of the big tech giants in the valley) and are able to freely talk about these matters with their employers. I think it's actually seen as another perk these days, since tech bods here in the Bay are so competitively fought over. Personally, I'd hate the idea of being stuck with a company for the purposes of securing my status here (because it takes years) - it'd feel like they own me - but, horses for courses. You may not be highly fought over as only a graduate, however. :)


* I-130/CR-1 visa by Direct Consular Filing in London
3rd May 2013 - Married in London

7th May 2013 - I-130 filed
4th June 2013 - NOA2 (approved)
16th July 2013 - Interview (approved)
30th July 2013 - POE San Francisco
29th August 2013 - 2 year green card arrived

 

* How? Read my DCF London I-130 for CR1/IR1 Spouse Guide

* Removal of Conditions (RoC) via California Service Centre
1st May 2015 - 90 day RoC window opened
6th May 2015 - I-751 filed (delivered 8th May, cheque cashed 18th May)
7th August 2015 - Approved / GC production

27th August 2015 - 10 year green card arrived

* Naturalisation (Citizenship) via Phoenix Lockbox

* San Francisco Field Office:
1st May 2016 - N-400 window opened
20th August 2016 - N-400 filed

26th August 2016 - NOA1
13th September 2016 - Biometrics

12th January 2017 - Biometrics (again)
30th May 2017 - Interview (approved)
7th June 2017 - Oath

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ya, before you actually graduate, check in with yer DSO at yer uni, seek a company and get hired doing stuff for your OPT period.


Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
Ya know, you can find the answer to your question with the advanced search tool, when using a PC? Ditch the handphone, come back later on a PC, and try again.

-=-=-=-=-=R E A D ! ! !=-=-=-=-=-

Whoa Nelly ! Want NVC Info? see http://www.visajourney.com/wiki/index.php/NVC_Process

Congratulations on your approval ! We All Applaud your accomplishment with Most Wonderful Kissies !

2mzcunl.gif

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Why not apply to go to art school now (or for after you graduate)? There's plenty of good art schools in the USA and you could restart with a new undergraduate degree.

Otherwise, if you want to go down the working route with your current area of expertise, talk to potential employers about their stance on GC sponsorship when and if they offer you a job. There's some information online: http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-through-job/green-card-through-job-offer

I have a bunch of friends in tech who work for companies doing such sponsorship (basically, think of the big tech giants in the valley) and are able to freely talk about these matters with their employers. I think it's actually seen as another perk these days, since tech bods here in the Bay are so competitively fought over. Personally, I'd hate the idea of being stuck with a company for the purposes of securing my status here (because it takes years) - it'd feel like they own me - but, horses for courses. You may not be highly fought over as only a graduate, however. :)

Thank you. Could you explain what you mean with the line I bolded? :)

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Meaning, unlike recent grads, those with more experience have a higher probability of being sought by employers.


USCIS

January 16, 2015 I-130 Mailed, Chi lockbox January 20, 2015 Priority Date, January 21, 2015 NOA1 notice date, Assigned VSC, January 23, 2015 Check Cashed, electronically March 5, 2015 NOA2

NVC

March 27, 2015 NVC received April 6, 2015 Case#, IIN# assigned April 8, 2015 Paid AOS + IV fee Invoices May 5, 2015 AOS + IV package submitted May 11, 2015 Scan Date

June 11, 2015 DS-260 submitted June 25, 2015 False checklist (for ds260).. hello? June 30, 2015 Answered checklist Aug 5, 2015 Escalated to Supervisor review Aug 13, 2015 Case Complete

Consular

Sept 10, 2015 Interview Scheduled Sept 11, 2015 P4 Letter received Sept 21, 2015 file In transit from NVC Sept 23, 2015 file at Embassy

Sept 28, 2015 Medical Oct 14, 2015 Biometrics Oct 15, 2015 Interview (Approved) Oct 19, 2015 IV visa Issued Oct 23, 2015 Passport Pickup

POE

Nov 2, 2015 Entered the US Nov 16, 2015 Applied for SSN, walk-in Nov 20, 2015 Social Security Card recd Jan 15, 2016 GC received

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Thank you. Could you explain what you mean with the line I bolded? :)

That graduates are not as highly regarded as, say, someone with work experience.


* I-130/CR-1 visa by Direct Consular Filing in London
3rd May 2013 - Married in London

7th May 2013 - I-130 filed
4th June 2013 - NOA2 (approved)
16th July 2013 - Interview (approved)
30th July 2013 - POE San Francisco
29th August 2013 - 2 year green card arrived

 

* How? Read my DCF London I-130 for CR1/IR1 Spouse Guide

* Removal of Conditions (RoC) via California Service Centre
1st May 2015 - 90 day RoC window opened
6th May 2015 - I-751 filed (delivered 8th May, cheque cashed 18th May)
7th August 2015 - Approved / GC production

27th August 2015 - 10 year green card arrived

* Naturalisation (Citizenship) via Phoenix Lockbox

* San Francisco Field Office:
1st May 2016 - N-400 window opened
20th August 2016 - N-400 filed

26th August 2016 - NOA1
13th September 2016 - Biometrics

12th January 2017 - Biometrics (again)
30th May 2017 - Interview (approved)
7th June 2017 - Oath

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